GCSE English

Semicolon Use


Semicolons are used to add stronger breaks to sentences than a comma, but less severe than a full stop. Why would you want to do this? Let's look at an example:

  1. Gareth slept soundly. Isobel was crying; this was quite rare.
  2. Gareth slept soundly; Isobel was crying. This was quite rare.

The two statements have somewhat different meanings. In the first case, what was rare was the fact that Isobel was crying. It had nothing to do with Gareth!

In the second case, however, the rare event is Gareth being able to sleep whilst Isobel was crying.

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